Here we go! We will do a wrap up of June soon but today’s event is significant in that Northern Resident orcas made an appearance today for the first time this summer. Has our season begun? Hard to say exactly as the A42s, Holly’s family passed by the Lab unannounced at 9:23am, cleared our view at 9:38am, and were off Kaizumi, Vancouver Island at 10:49am and past Strider by 12:16pm, all in total silence. Even as they “turned the corner” (a good spot for opening up vocally normally) into Johnstone Strait, they maintained their silence. There may have been a brief pass over of Strider but their intent was clear – keep going.
A few days before (July 5), Jared Towers identified 40 Northern Residents, the I13. I19, I22, I40,D11 and D13 matrilines, when they arrived west of Port Hardy. It was the first time since 2009 that some of these groups, “the AIs” as they are called, have returned this far south. They were relaxed and travelling closely together making Jared’s job much easier. They turned and went back west from Goletas Channel, leaving us wondering if they were waiting for the more usual A clan matrilines to show.
We have been getting reports of other resident groups both on the central and northern coast. Back in June, on the 19th, Whale Point (North Coast) reported an all clan meeting in Gitgåat territory heading to Squally Channel. The group included the A4s,G2s and R5s. A little later on the 24th the A42s passed Fin Island to the north. Springer and her family along with the A25s were seen near Prince Rupert on the 26th. On July 5, that large group already mentioned was sighted off Port Hardy. Up on the north coast, during the night of July 5 and 6, all three clans were heard and later the A54s and I27s were actually seen. At the same time, Dylan saw the A23s,A24s,A35s,G3s,G17s and G16 near Bella Bella on the central coast. This was a lot of witnessed activity over the span of just two days! Today was our turn! But why the silence? We have so much to learn about the why and wherefore of these orcas. The soft morning mist only served to enhance the peaceful mood.
During the A42 passing this morning we were able to discern that Mystery (A94) was still travelling with his adopted family. Mystery, as some of you may recall, is from the A24s, and about two years ago he decided that he wanted to be with Holly’s family. Since then, Holly’s oldest son, Surf (A66), died in 2023 and the group looks quite different than before without his tall dorsal fin in the family portrait.
Jared Towers left them still easting in Johnstone Strait and as of 10:30pm they have not yet returned and all is quiet.
Dolphins have been pretty active today near the entrance to Blackney Pass.